Okay, first of all, I have to say: Are we still having this conversation?
This feels so 2014. I thought the leggings/yoga pants discussion had run its course. But a viral letter from one disgruntled mother to the Notre Dame student newspaper that has recently sparked outrage and a “Legging Pride Day” protest on campus proves otherwise.
“I’m just a Catholic mother of four sons with a problem that only girls can solve: leggings,” Maryann White writes in the opening her plea. “The emergence of leggings as pants some years ago baffled me. They’re such an unforgiving garment.”
She continued to explain that leggings had recently invaded her and her son’s space while at Mass at the Basilica where a group of young women stood with the “snug-fitting” bottoms that appeared to be “painted on”:
“I was ashamed for the young women at Mass. I thought of all the other men around and behind us who couldn’t help but see their behinds. My sons know better than to ogle a woman’s body — certainly when I’m around (and hopefully, also when I’m not). They didn’t stare, and they didn’t comment afterwards. But you couldn’t help but see those blackly naked rear ends. I didn’t want to see them — but they were unavoidable. How much more difficult for young guys to ignore them.”
Well, you know what else is about to invade your son’s space?: the Internet, porn at the click-of-a-finger, half-naked Instagram models, girls in bikinis at the pool, scantily-clothed heathens on the streets who are NOT at church and do not hold your same views on modesty… and the list goes on.
How do you plan to protect them from this? Or are we approaching the ‘legging epidemic’ from the wrong angle?
Is the issue women’s clothes, or the man’s self-control?
Now don’t get me wrong, as a lover of leggings myself (I’m actually wearing them at work right now — with my behind nicely covered by a dress, thank you very much), I have no issue with women who have decided against them for their own personal reasons, whether that be as a sign of respect to other men, their husbands, God, or themselves.
You do you, girl. That’s awesome. I think it’s admirable to be mindful of what you wear.
However, to place the responsibility of a man’s actions on the woman is not only unbiblical but also a dangerous perpetuation of the rape culture already running rampant in our society.
Oh, you mean the girl who Brock Turner raped behind a dumpster at Stanford was wearing LEGGINGS? Well, that got left out of the report. In that case, she totally asked for it. How was he supposed to resist taking off those bottoms clearly crafted by the hand of Satan?
Absurd when we put it that way, right?
But really, the message we’re sending with the seemingly neverending debate regarding — let’s be honest, the comfiest stretchy contraptions on God’s green earth — is not so far from it when we consider what it implies.
White calls leggings the outfits of “slave girls” like Leia in “Star Wars” and pleads for women to respect themselves more than that.
But what about the respect we are owed by men regardless of what we choose to put on our lower extremities? Form-fitting clothes are not a formal invitation for them to do as they please. We are also not slaves to their desires, urges, or fantasies.
— The Observer (@NDSMCObserver) March 26, 2019
“I’m fretting both because of unsavory guys who are looking at you creepily and nice guys who are doing everything to avoid looking at you,” she adds. “For the Catholic mothers who want to find a blanket to lovingly cover your nakedness and protect you — and to find scarves to tie over the eyes of their sons to protect them from you!”
Wow. Good luck also protecting them from the barrage of sexualized — well everything — that they are bound to come in contact within the landscape of 2019.
And please know, my perspective comes not in the spirit or being ‘progressive’ or ‘keeping up with the times’ or trends, but rather from a standpoint that I believe Al Banton — yes, a self-acclaimed, legging-loving, Christian (gasp) man — puts it best:
“Lust has plagued us since the beginning of time. David stumbled with Bathsheba (who, coincidentally, didn’t own a pair of yoga pants), not at initial sight, but when he pursued his thoughts and his thoughts turned to action.
Men may think that there is no way out, because we will never cut off access to all temptation. The availability will always be there. If it’s not yoga pants [or leggings] crossing our line of sight, it’s going to be something else. We cannot simply recluse ourselves from the world, but we can close a few doors, lock them, and throw away the key.
So in summary, the real problem is not yoga pants. The problem is our mind. The problem is our heart.
The problem is me.”
Well said, Al.
So with all due respect, “Catholic mom of 4 boys,” perhaps it is a more fruitful effort to encourage your sons to check their hearts before chastising women for not chucking leggings out of their wardrobe.